Reconceptualizing the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) Institution

By Andrew Hund and Karen Knaus.

Published by Journal of Technologies in Society

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Published Online: March 12, 2015 $US10.00
Published Online: March 12, 2015 $US5.00

This paper will focus on telecommunication healthcare in Alaska as an institutional category of Gidden’s theory of reconceptualizing institutions. Over the past fifty years, considerable advancements of Alaska Native health have occurred in which the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) managed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) has played a critical role. We began the discussion by defining telemedicine/telehealth as an institution of medicine and healthcare. Next, Gidden’s theory of reconceptualizing institutions is examined, because it is a crucial frame of reference for examining the institution of telemedicine/telehealth in Alaska. Following the discussion of Gidden’s theory, the AFHCAN telehealth system is discussed and explored to understand the basis for social interactions within the AFHCAN telehealth system and how healthcare is distributed. This telemedicine healthcare institution has resulted in rapid alteration in the overall mode of interactions between the patient, healthcare professionals, and the healthcare organization. As a result, it has had a direct influence on the medical establishment in rural and remote areas.

Keywords: Technology, Medicine, Telecommunication, Telemedicine, Telehealth

Journal of Technologies in Society, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.15-30. Published Online: March 12, 2015 (Article: Print (Spiral Bound)). Published Online: March 12, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 779.151KB)).

Andrew Hund

Assistant Professor; Research Collaborator, Department of Sociology; Health & Science Education Perception Alliance, The United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Karen Knaus

Assistant Professor; Research Collaborator, Department of Chemistry; Health & Science Education Perception Alliance, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA